Home  >  My Life  >  Reflections

Fear of Failure and Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Fail


Fear of failure is common. Usually, it masks a fear of how we perceive failure and what it says about us. Here are 5 reasons failure isn’t so bad.

A lot of us are willing to settle for a job that bores us to death, or stay in a relationship that’s clearly not working, because we are too scared to pursue the things we want. A long time ago, when we were children, we weren’t like this—at all. We used to be Super Girls and Super Boys—optimistic and full of sunshine!

But then we experienced failure and found out that getting what we want is not so easy, after all. Our long list of failures has taught us to retreat into our shells and “grow up.” We just can’t take one more disappointment. We’d rather accept the cards we’re dealt and say, “Welp, that’s life!” than go after the person we adore, the job that makes us feel fulfilled, or the lifestyle we’ve always wanted. We are now “wise” enough not to invest money, time, and emotions, only to disappoint ourselves once again. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and it sucks.

Failure is not your enemy

But you know what sucks more than failure? Trying to convince yourself every single day that you are satisfied with your life. What sucks more than failure is knowing that you can change the course of your life… but you choose not to. What sucks more than failure is your 60-year-old self blaming your younger self for being such a wimp.

If you’re too scared of failure to take big risks, maybe it’s time to reassess and change the way you see failure. Here are some healthy ways to view failure, so you don’t get paralyzed by your fear of it. [Read: How to let go of your past and be excited by your future]

#1 Failing doesn’t make you a failure. This is pretty basic, but some of us find it hard to separate ourselves from our failures or successes. We take everything personally! Those who achieve success think highly of themselves, and those who are still in the failure stage think they have character flaws. Both are dangerous. When something doesn’t go as planned, we blame ourselves until our self-esteem has shrunken to the size of a pea. It’s alright to assess, it’s alright—even necessary—to acknowledge mistakes, but please be gentle with yourself.

Sure, the project failed, or sure the love of your life rejected you, or your book didn’t turn out to be a bestseller. It doesn’t make you a failure! Come to think of it, those attempts are not even failures; you’re in the process of getting what you want. Seeing setbacks as failures and seeing yourself as a failure are not helping. [Read: A helpful reflection – What am I doing with my life?]

#2 Failure prepares you for success. Failure builds character. At the very least, it prepares you to become humble and compassionate to others. People who succeed on the first attempt may develop detestable qualities—unless, of course, they are born with innate kindness. As cliché as it sounds, failure is the most effective teacher. Failure molds us to be resourceful, quick-thinking, more patient with ourselves and others, and instills a thousand other career and life skills necessary for achieving the kind of life that we want.

People who get what they want right away will definitely have a tough time the next time something doesn’t go according to plan; those of us who have learned the hard way will be well-equipped to handle whatever life throws at us. On a practical level, failure also teaches us what works best and what doesn’t, so that the next time we try, the likelihood of us getting things right is higher.

#3 Failure is part of the process. Let me ask you this: what makes you think you should achieve what you want on the first attempt? Sure, you tried very hard and you gave it all you had, but who gave you the idea that you should nail it on the first try, just because you tried hard? Is it the movies we watch or the books we read?

If you asked real people, they’d tell you that getting there is never easy and requires big risks. One example is Colonel Sanders, the wizard behind KFC’s delicious chicken recipe. He approached more than a thousand restaurants before someone said yes. If he stopped on the 999th attempt, there would have been no KFC today. Bill Gates, before he founded Microsoft, started a company that failed miserably. If he packed his bags and said “That’s enough failure for me,” there would have been no Microsoft. You see? Failure is just one step in our long journey to success. If you have the right amount of courage and the right attitude, failures will serve as guideposts to your success. [Read: Sabotaging your happiness – 12 ways you’re ruining your own life]

#4 Failure makes you reassess everything about your life. Which is always a good thing… if you have the right mindset. Failure makes you sit back and talk to yourself, asking why things didn’t go as planned. It also makes you assess yourself *Who am I? What are my skills? Where did I go wrong? What skills should I develop?*, assess your peers *Is he the right partner for this kind of endeavor?*, assess your relationships, assess your expectations, assess your plans, and assess your other options.

These moments, wherein you dig deep and force yourself to think hard, are precious for your growth. These moments are more precious than gold. As adults, we live our lives at dizzying speed, so we have no time to think anymore. Failure forces us to think and zoom out from our daily grind, so we can plot our next move.

#5 Failure is better than nothing. For some of us, it’s better to stay in the safe zone than lose a lot of energy, embarrass ourselves, and find out for the nth time that we’ve failed. We’d rather not find out, because our egos can’t take it. For some, doing nothing is better than failure.

Well, guess what—the person who keeps trying is not a failure. In fact, people who give up are the failures. Giving up means curling in bed instead of hustling, stalking people on Facebook instead of approaching them in real life, and staying stuck in a routine you are clearly not happy with. Trying to achieve what you want, even if you failed at it a hundred times, is bad ass. Why? Your life is more exciting, colorful, emotional, scary, heartbreaking, and worth living than those who stick to nothing.

[Read: 6 big telltale excuses that get you nowhere]

Most, if not all, successful people failed a lot before they achieved success, and that is because they had a healthy view of failure. They don’t take things personally, but use the lessons from their failures to push them forward.

Liked what you just read? Like us on Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life.

Team LovePanky
Team LovePanky
Flirt. Tease. Fall in Love. Your Guide to Better Love and Relationships....
Follow Team LovePanky on

Don't Miss this!

Latest in LovePanky


4 thoughts on “Fear of Failure and Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Fail”

  1. dork says:

    This is a problem that I think many people, if not all, suffer with at one point. I’ve changed my perspective a lot over the past few years, and one of the big things that I’m still starting to realize now, is that people don’t care. Apart from a select few in your close proximity (friends, family etc.), no-one gives a shit about what you do/don’t do. You will never even factor into their consciousness for a second. That makes me feel a lot better because the only people that care about me, my friends and family, are those that will forgive me for failing. Those that won’t forgive me, don’t care. Great! I’d say another thing is that failure is a good thing. Everyone had to be shit at something to be good at something. In a book I recently read, Mastery, the author talks at length about how you should try your best not to be afraid of looking stupid. Looking stupid is, in the sense of trying a new thing, a good thing! It means you tried, it means you’re on the first step towards mastering something. We’re taught to believe that successful people are people that ‘just’ succeeded and that’s it. But successful people have looked stupid at one point, successful people have failed at one point. In fact they failed so many times, that at one point they actually managed to succeed. ‘Failures’ are people that failed once or twice and then stayed there.

  2. Rennie S. says:

    My mum always told me when I was a child that the most important thing is to participate and not necessarily win anything. I have stuck to that my whole life and I truly learnt what she meant by it. Three years ago my company collapsed and I lost a lot of money and my car. But I moved on and through my failure I became aware of my mistakes. I promise that I am better person now because of that. I met my wife shortly after and we got our beautiful boy Steven. So don’t be afraid to fail. Never! Instead have the courage to rise and learn from your mistakes. It is worth it, trust me.

  3. Fear of fearing says:

    By repeating your worst fear over and over again in your head you begin to realize how irrational it is. Your brain gets trained to realize the fear is irrational. At one point in my life I wouldn’t go over bridges in a car or via a train, I had a bad fear of heights and kept thinking the bridge was going to collapse. A therapist that I went to taught me to do what I suggested to you. Every day I would get to the train station and start repeating over and over the bridge is going to fall. 30 minutes into my commute I would get to the bridge (this didn’t happen in a day, it actually took about a month for me). I started looking out the window at the skyline of Manhattan and one day I just started laughing at myself. Since then I’ve walked over bridges (Brooklyn bridge was the first), I’ve climbed 40 foot extension ladders, and like I said in my earlier reply I have a healthy fear of heights, just not an incapacitating fear. To think about all the time I wasted taking the train that went under ground so I could avoid the bridge. 30 minutes extra every day both ways, just so I didn’t have to confront my fear. It will take some time, but desensitization works. If you feel that you cannot do it on your own, seek out a good therapist and they can help you through this.

  4. where'd you come from says:

    Failure is paralyzing because of the way we choose or are conditioned to view it. When you’re in school, failure is BAD. No one graduates or gets degrees by scoring F’s. This conditioning screwed me up too because I always scored A’s. The problem is, life isn’t exactly like school. You don’t score A+ in everything you try or attempt. When you we’re a toddler and you were learning to walk, you didn’t take a step and then instantly walk and run. You fell, stumbled, tumbled, and cried. You failed over, and over, and over again. But you got up, and you kept trimying and you eventually succeeded. The way you see failure needs to change in order to succeed. Nobody aims to fail, but in reality it gives you information on how to do better next time. Bombed a presentation because you winged it? Next time you’ll prepare and you will do better. And then you’ll find another area to improve. Secondly, you need strong motivation/desire. Why is what you want to do worth doing in spite of failure? What would you miss out on (memories, experiences, achievements) if you chose to be paralyzed? Would you regret not taking action when you’re old and looking back in your life? Strong motivation and reasons will pull you forward even though you will fail. In anything in life that you want to do big or small you will fail. Everybody fails. Failure to act is also a failure. Anything worth doing is not going to come easy nor is there some easy path to getting there. If there is, you’re aiming very very low. To grow you must fail. But you will be smarter and stronger because of it and then you will succeed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *